Column: San Manuel Band a 'perfect' fit with baseball team

"Twenty-five years ago, someone had the kooky idea that if you put a minor league baseball team, with no major league affiliation, in outdated Fiscalini Field, people would actually come out and watch.

Oddly enough, they did. The San Bernardino Spirit were so successful that that after five years, Rancho Cucamonga built a stadium and swiped the California League team away.

Without missing a beat — or a season — the Salinas Spurs moved into Fiscalini as the new Spirit, with new owners Dave Elmore and Donna Tuttle banking on San Bernardino’s passion for baseball. That was 1992.

Meanwhile, in the mid-1980s, another revival was under way. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians had opened a popular bingo center near Highland, to be followed by a casino in 1994, sparking a regional economic phenomenon. Today the tribe employs 3,000 people. It has become a political and philanthropic force, a symbol of local power."

Get the Story:
Gregg Patton: 66ers, San Manuel perfect combo (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 3/29)

Also Today:
San Manuel buys 66ers stadium name (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 3/29)

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San Manuel Band plans to announce stadium naming rights (3/20)

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